Bob Amster

Principal, Retail Technology Group

Mr. Amster has served the retail and distribution industries as both a Consultant and Systems Manager since 1971. He currently heads The Retail Technology Group, an independent consulting firm.

Bob was a Senior Manager with the Northeast Retail Consulting Group of Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Mr. Amster held Systems Management positions for large retailers such as Kmart Apparel, Waldenbooks, and Caldor. In addition, he has consulted to retail, distribution, and software companies since 1985.

Bob’s hands-on experience encompasses strategic planning; operational reviews; and systems design and implementation. He specializes in needs assessments; software analyses, selection and implementation; operational procedures and process improvement; and systems integration. His project experience includes numerous engagements in the evaluation, selection and implementation of merchandising, financial, warehouse and store systems packages.

Additionally, Bob has served as interim head of IT for Barneys New York and Shane Company, and as interim head of the Store Systems Group for Savers, Inc.

Bob also has provided due diligence assistance to a number of private equity firms and has served the advisory board of retailers and of a number of e-commerce merchants, to whom he provided retail industry perspective.

  • Posted on: 04/22/2019

    Why is Petco doubling down on same-day delivery with Shipt and Instacart?

    While it may be an expectation, same-day delivery is mostly unnecessary. Investing in the infrastructure to make it happen requires a critical mass of customers that will take advantage of it. Resorting to a partnership with a third party or parties is the way a retailer gets around building a costly delivery infrastructure while satisfying the need of some customers. Long live specialization and division of labor!
  • Posted on: 04/22/2019

    Is it time to push the ‘go faster’ button on cloud computing?

    When having these discussions, it is imperative that one establish the definition of the subject at hand. What was the definition of "cloud computing" when the survey was conducted and were the respondents told what the definition was? It is very difficult to provide an opinion without such a definition.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2019

    Will former exec’s Godiva café plans spell trouble for Starbucks?

    I agree. Consumer emotions and human response to stimuli is not be underestimated in retail. There is the dispassionate use of technology to get something done quickly, and then, there is the smell and taste of chocolate...
  • Posted on: 04/18/2019

    Will former exec’s Godiva café plans spell trouble for Starbucks?

    With enough variety in their offering, Godiva will immediately appeal to chocolate lovers, Godiva followers, and people searching for coffee that actually tastes good.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2019

    Will America’s love for paper coupons ever die?

    The paper coupon is a visible reminder, whereas the electronic coupon remains inside a magical, wafer-thin smart device or inside a laptop that may be asleep. It is not unlike the effect that an elegant paper catalog has on the consumer. The paper coupon may die a prolonged death before it disappears.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2019

    Apple owns the checkout at Decathlon’s sporting goods store

    From a flow perspective it could cause queues to form in front of one or two associates, in the wrong places on the floor. From a customer service perspective, if every associate were able to check out a customer, it would certainly smooth out the flow and customers could be out the door much quicker. With help from Apple, Decathlon will soon figure out what works best and straighten it out. Have faith!
  • Posted on: 04/15/2019

    Is Bed Bath & Beyond smart to draw the line on coupons?

    Good point regarding the perception of inflated initial pricing. I think about it every time I redeem a coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2019

    Is Bed Bath & Beyond smart to draw the line on coupons?

    Because Bed Bath & Beyond has conditioned its customer base to expect and wait for the coupons to arrive, the weaning has to be done slowly, but not completely. There must still be occasions when the coupons should be issued. The answer to the degree to which the coupons need to be scaled back is: how many other, profitable items do Bed Bath & Beyond customers buy when redeeming coupons good for a single item?
  • Posted on: 04/15/2019

    Can Walmart beat Amazon, Facebook and Google at the online ad game?

    I would ask why there has to be a "winner." There appears to be enough room for a number of players to be successful.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2019

    Amazon Go doesn’t want to leave cash on the table

    Whether Amazon Go appeals to the unbanked and underbanked consumer will very much depend on how much Amazon Go advertises within that demographic and in what neighborhoods it operates its stores.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2019

    Will Alexa earbuds advance Amazon’s virtual assistant ambitions?

    Do I want to bring Alexa on the road? If the answer is yes, then developing a wireless earbud may be an advantage to Amazon.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2019

    Should uniform pricing be the norm for large chains?

    If merchandise assortment and even the size footprint need to be localized - and they do - then so should pricing. Having a presence directly across the street from one's biggest competitor may call for store pricing within the low-limit gross margins set by the retailer.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2019

    Can subscription retail solve its retention problem?

    I see the word "value" in many comments today...
  • Posted on: 04/03/2019

    Can subscription retail solve its retention problem?

    Subscription models must offer the consumer a raison d'être. Amazon Prime, Costco (and other membership clubs), and a number of others do that now and I doubt that they experience anywhere near the churn mentioned here. There is definitely an alignment between the offering and the consumer: perceived value! If the consumer is going to watch Amazon Prime, or purchase repeatedly from Amazon, the deal is worth it, and that is also the case with all the others that are successful subscription retailers.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2019

    Has wearable tech already gone out of style?

    Keep your eyes on wearable technology for commercial purposes. Theatro is a perfect example. A wearable, voice-activated communication device for the hourly employee. Keeps the people in the front lines engaged to their company and attentive to their customer of the moment. Eyes up/hands free. Yes wearable technology will make significant strides forward but not necessarily in my jean jacket.

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